The diverse work currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery fills the space with vibrant energy; this year’s incarnation of the annual Darke County High School Art Exhibit exudes thoughtful creativity and innate expressiveness, sometimes revealing deep emotion, other times offering opportunity for a fun-filled exploration to unearth hidden meaning. The adventurous show includes the work of art students from all local public high schools; our community can take pride in the quality of the artistic efforts of our youth.
Greenville High School student Laura Fields’ gently crafted pastel entitled “Lemon Lime All the Time” earned Best of Show for its excellent design and subtle handling of values and textures, exhibiting a difficult-to-attain realistic transparency that make the citrus slices of the title look good enough to eat. “Happy Little Cactus,” a pointillistic rendering of, well, a happy little cactus created with geometrically placed colorful tempera dots on a black-outlined pink background generating perspective in the unique desert landscape, won the first place ribbon for Riley Smith, also of Greenville.
Greenville student Kelly Nguyen’s vibrant collage “It’s a Colorful Evening” won second place with a masterful level of craftsmanship that creates the illusion of depth and light in this rural landscape brimming with riveting splashes of primary colors. Another collage, “Still Life,” earned third place for Brice Miller of Tri-Village; this intriguing abstract, fun-filled piece subtly uses ink and paint to become much more than a collection of cut-out things.
This year, three-dimensional works were judged separately from paintings and drawings. “Angel of the Sea,” a well-crafted papier mache tropical fish in bright yellow and blues evoking a lively sense of joy, earned a first place ribbon for Darcy Denlinger of Franklin Monroe. A sculpturally graceful bottleneck drip vase in an elementally natural palette by FM’s Nolan Yeomans won second place and “Flight,” a subtly colored abstract clay sculpture exhibiting impressive fluidity by Ryan Fortkamp from Ansonia, earned third.
Among the two-dimensional pieces winning Honorable Mention is a watercolor by Mississinawa Valley student Akimoto Kano entitled “Friends (Tomachi);” the anime-inspired depiction of an assortment of teens, each expressing a unique personality, moves the viewer to ponder the stories being revealed. Other works gaining honors include “Let There Be Light,” a striking linoleum print by Tri-Village student Madi Foreman, which also tells a story that invites conjecture, and Levi Billenstein’s “The Night Eye,” in which the Ansonia student used blue and tan lines to digitally create a fascinating portrait of a wolf. Two unique portraits by Greenville students – a striking black, white, and gray likeness of pop star “Kesha” by Lynsie Siegler revealing the artists vulnerability, and Rachel Unger’s “Somebody to Love,” a pointillist inspired picture of Queen’s Freddie Mercury in bright yellow, red, and blue dots—also earned Honorable Mentions.
In the 3-D category, two glazed clay pieces by Franklin Monroe students won Honorable Mention; Caytlin Bundenthal’s symmetrically appealing earthy cream-colored clay bowl etched with black figures and Danielle McVey’s playfully pleasing pagoda-like sage green birdhouse both exhibit skill and creativity. Taylor Cordonnier of Versailles crafted a whimsical clay piece that, while not among the award-winners, wins notice; a sense of welcome emanates from “Dr. Seuss House,” which features a skinny crooked chimney and an inviting aqua-blue framed door.
An alluring painting by Versailles student Kennedy Hughes depicts the lushness to be found in a “Pomegranate;” another lush work was created by Abbie Vanhoose of Arcanum, whose lovely “Pastel Petals” brings to mind the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. Kalynn Gibson from Bradford produced an engaging picture of “Flowers,” cheerful watercolor sunflowers in a pale green vase accented by designs inked with a Sharpie. Her schoolmate Jericka Thacker also utilized the marker pen to outline and enhance “Freedom,” a graceful, dramatic depiction of a magnificent horse.
The Darke County High School Art Exhibition will remain on display at the Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, through May 31; the Gallery is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information or to arrange a tour at other times, contact Anna Bier Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.